Cover image for The carousel
The carousel
Plain, Belva.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
New York : Delacorte, 1995.
Physical Description:
544 pages (large print) ; 22 cm
Format :


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X Adult Large Print Large Print

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Best-selling author Belva Plain follows the  enormous success of Whispers and  Daybreak with another explosive  novel that explores the realities simmering below the  surface of a seemingly admirable Amencan family.  In the opening pages of The Carousel  a woman is looking at an exquisite music box, a  silver carousel. She is pensive and reflects upon  how this beautiful object has linked the momentous  events of a family's life. She has married into  that family, the Greys, whose successful business is  nationally known. The sun has long shone upon the  patriarch, Oliver Grey, his two sons Ian and  Clive, and his niece and nephew, Amanda and Dan. Oliver  has recently handed over control of the business  to his two sons and his nephew. Amanda has a  non-voting share. Now the sky has clouded over and  terrible storms arise as a series of incidents  threatens to destroy the family... Amanda is making  furious demands upon the business. Ian's greed and his  adultery collide with Clive's jealousy. And the  five-year-old daughter of Dan and his wife has been  the victim of sexual abuse. The Greys, pillars of  their upstate New York community, are being torn  apart. And before their ordeal comes to an end  someone will be the victim of murder. As she did in the  enormously successful Whispers,  Belva Plain tells a timely story of a family with  a dark and dirty secret. With the additional  touches of mystery--a new territory for Belva Plain  --The Carousel confirms her place as  one of our most compelling and popular writers.  "The queen of the family saga writers...Belva Plain  is in a class by herself." -- The New  York Times.

Author Notes

Belva Plain lives in northern New Jersey. She is the author of the bestselling novels "Evergreen", "Random Winds", "Eden Burning", "Crescent City", "The Golden Cup", "Tapestry", "Blessings", "Harvest", "Treasures", "Whispers", "Daybreak", "The Carousel", "Promises", "Secrecy", "Homecoming", "Legacy of Silence", "Fortune's Hand", and "After the Fire".

(Publisher Provided) Belva Plain was born in New York City on October 9, 1915. She received a degree in history from Barnard College in 1939. Her first short story was published in Cosmopolitan when she was 25 years old, and she continued to write for the publication for years. Her first novel, Evergreen (1978), was on the New York Times bestseller list for 41 weeks and was made into a television miniseries. Her other works include Crescent City, Promises, Blessings, The Carousel, Daybreak, and After the Fire. She died on October 12, 2010 at the age of 95.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

When a family business passes from one generation to the next, a lot can happen. But in Plain's newest novel, office politics is just a subplot of the real drama that takes place after everyone goes home. Clive, a short and sickly bachelor, and Ian, his handsome lady-chasing brother, now run Grey Foods with their cousin Daniel. Clive is concerned about his future; Ian is flabbergasted over Clive's new bride; Daniel worries about the threat of selling the company; Daniel's wife, Sally, has the most to be worried about. She believes someone sexually molested their five-year-old daughter, and her search for who among her famous family could have done such a thing causes another tragedy. Sally's maternal feelings and natural instincts are the best part of this book, which is an unsubtle reworking of the family-secret-that's-been-buried-for-years theme. Plain tosses in a not very sophisticated murder-mystery angle, but her devoted readers will forgive her this indiscretion--and she has droves of readers, all of whom will be demanding this book. (Reviewed Feb 15, 1995)0385311079Kathy Broderick

Publisher's Weekly Review

Plain's latest family saga (after Daybreak) is an animated but less-than-profound story of child abuse, adultery and business dealings. Dismayed to discover that their five-year-old daughter, Tina, has been sexually abused, photojournalist Sally Grey and her decent, hardworking husband, Dan, face both family and business crises. With his illustrious uncle, Oliver Grey, and Oliver's two sons, Ian and Clive, Dan runs the worldwide corporation Grey's Foods from its upstate New York headquarters. Among the many who depend on the family-held firm for their livelihoods is Roxanne Finelli, who schemes to parlay her beauty and sexual prowess into fortune and happiness. After an affair with Ian‘an attractive womanizer‘sours, the practical Roxanne marries the sickly, spindly Clive. On the business front, Dan's California-based sister, Amanda, who owns a quarter of the controlling shares of Grey's Foods, demands her principal in order to fund a project for desperate girls, and Ian seeks to sell off Grey's woodlands for profit. To top it off, when Sally learns the identity of Tina's abuser, the resultant mayhem threatens to tear the firm and the family apart. Gliding swiftly along the surfaces of its shallow characters and events, this capably crafted‘and appropriately titled‘narrative provides plenty of forgettable entertainment. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This new novel concerns a seemingly forthright family's dark secrets. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One     March 1990   She was not ready to go home, and not ready to face anybody, neither the five-year-old nor the infant, not prepared to answer the telephone or speak a civil word, after what had just happened during this past hour. Never had Sally Grey felt so wretched, so small, as if she had physically shrunk, as she sat huddled behind the wheel of the car and fled the city.   On the first plateau in the chain of mountains that stretched toward Canada, a scenic overlook had been set aside, very likely for the benefit of tourists. On this waning, windy afternoon it was deserted, and here she stopped the car. Below lay Scythia, an old city, its small factories ringed by tracts of new-built bungalows and highways; beyond them to the east, west, and south came farms. In the north, the dark mountains.   Lights winked on in scattered spots, but to Sally's left, where lay the headquarters of Grey's Foods, light was a solid yellow oblong, marking the place to which one quarter of the city's population was in some way connected, either employed by the company or related to someone who was. As to that, the other three quarters of Scythia had been touched in some way by the Grey family's generosity: the library, the hospital, the neighborhood swimming pools, all were gifts from the Greys.   "You're thinking such things don't happen in families like yours. I understand," that woman, that doctor, had said.   No, Sally had thought, you don't understand. You thought I was feeling some sort of superiority, above the flaws of the common people, that I was feeling some sort of nasty, idiotic snobbishness. But I was thinking only of how happy we have been, of how pure our life has been. Pure. Such a Victorian word! But all the same, it fitted. There had been nothing dirty in their lives until now.   Somewhere within that compact mass of light, at this very moment Dan was working at his desk, not knowing. Tonight he would have to know. And if it should be true--no, of course it cannot be true, of course not--it would devastate him. His baby! His darling Tina.   No, there's no doubt in my mind. Your Tina has been molested. Sexually abused.   Dr. Lisle had already explained herself at length, but still Sally had simply stared at her. She had a homely, square face and a cool manner, this woman who, although no older than Sally, was dressed in authority, buttressed by professional knowledge.   Scolding me, that's how she sounds, as if I were a schoolgirl instead of a woman who has had her own experiences, has traveled all over the world in peace and war with her cameras, having her photographs published all over the world. Well, I guess the truth is we simply don't like each other. What kind of a crazy thing is this to tell me?   And as if looking for help, she stared about the spare, plain office. Its inexpensive desk and chairs were new. Its diplomas and certificates were recent. The view led over the back of a run-down three-story commercial building in the run-down heart of town. It was an uncomfortable, dispiriting place with no help in it. But the doctor had been so well recommended!   "This is incredible," Sally said abruptly.   "No, it's credible."   "I can't believe you. I won't believe you. How can you even think of such a thing?"   "It's natural for you to resist. What parent would want to believe it?"   "It's incredible."   "It's credible, Mrs. Grey."   "I live with Tina! I bathe her, and I've never seen a sign of--"   "There doesn't have to be penetration. There are other ways, as you know."   Revolting images flared. She had almost felt them burning, pressing inside her skull.   "Yes, I know. I read. But how can you be so sure? Has Tina told you anything?"   "Not directly, in so many words. Children rarely do. They're too afraid."   "Well, then, I ask you, how do you know?"   "There are many ways. For example, they play with dolls. Mine here are anatomically correct. I watch the child, I talk to her, and I listen while she talks to herself."   "Tell me what Tina says. Exactly what you remember."   The doctor put on her reading glasses. How long it took for her to fumble in the case and adjust them on her nose! It was a torture to watch.   And now, in the car, remembering, reliving, Sally's head began to pound.   "Here. Friday the tenth, the visit before last. I quote: 'You take your panties off, then you put that thing--' "   "Oh, no!"   " 'And you put your mouth--' "   "Oh, no!"   "Then she took the doll and threw it across the room, and she cried. Are you feeling all right, Mrs. Grey? I can stop if you wish."   "All right, stop. I have the picture."   It was then that there had come the onset of terror, a quick, slashing pain in the chest and wet hands, twisting themselves together until the ring dug into the flesh. It was then, too, that she had straightened her back and sat up. For if you panic, Sally, you drown.   She said positively, "Tina is never left with strangers. She's very well supervised, by me when I'm home and by a marvelous nanny, a sweet, grandmotherly lady who helps take care of Susannah, the baby, and takes charge of everything when I go away on business. I'm a photographer, you remember. But I never stay away for more than a few days at a time. No, it can't be, Doctor. It's--it's bizarre. Your diagnosis has to be mistaken."   "Tell me, then, how for example you explain Tina's talk to the doll?"   "Well, children of that age are just starting to discover things, aren't they? And I'm sure there are children in school who have older siblings who've told them about sex. God knows there's enough of it on television. We don't let Tina watch much television, but many other people do, and it filters down to the rest of the kids."   The doctor waited. She had been trained to observe, to listen for what people did not say. Sally knew that, and she sat up even higher in the chair.   "How have things gone this past week?" the doctor asked.   Yes, Sally thought, let's get back to reality, let me give you some plain facts and then you tell me how to deal with them, if you can. Fact, not fantasies.   And she said honestly, "The same. On and off. Sometimes the average five-year-old and sometimes not."   "Tell me about the 'sometimes not.' "   "Well, at school, I'm told, she's still doing some hitting and biting. At home, we've had some temper tantrums. And her bed is still wet every night. She still asks me when we're going to take Susannah back to the hospital. No matter how carefully I explain, she keeps asking. To my mind, Doctor, that's the source of the whole trouble."   "As easy as that? What I've told you makes no impression on you?"   "I'm with Tina all the time, I'm her mother! She plays with dolls at home, so wouldn't I have observed something strange too? Surely, she would have told me if someone had--done anything to her."   "I've explained to you, not necessarily. In fact, most probably she would not. A child can, in a vague way, feel guilt. She knows that something is wrong, although she can't explain it. And she may be afraid to betray the person who abused her. She may even in some way, in some fashion, have liked the person. It's not all that simple, Mrs. Grey."   Sally was silent. And the doctor, with a sudden surprising change of manner, said gently, "You should really, very seriously, consider what I've told you. I can read you much more from my record if you need to be convinced."   Sally put up her hand. "No. Please, no."   "You're afraid, Mrs. Grey."   "Dr. Lisle, please believe me, I respect your knowledge, but mistakes--even you, excuse me, even you, anyone can make one--and in this particular case, you're wrong. The way we live, this is impossible."   "People always think it is unless they see something with their own eyes."   "Everything was fine before the baby came. We had no problems at home, none at all. Maybe you think I'm exaggerating when I say that Dan and I have had a charmed life. I suppose some people say things like that to cover up the truth. But that would be foolish. Why should I come here for help and then lie to you? We have a good home, believe me. I wish every child in the world could have a home like ours, and a father like Dan. Sundays we cook together, Dan's proud of my work, we love each other. It's been such a happy house, and surely Tina must have felt the happiness. Everyone said she was such a sunny child--"   She had prattled. Now, alone in the car recollecting, she was certain she must have seemed foolish. But she had almost gone out of control. That resolute, stiff posture of hers had been a sham.   A solemn gaze had been turned to her while she prattled. It had been uncomfortable to confront that gaze, but to avoid it had been awkward, too, so she had alternated between the gaze and the dingy warehouse across the street. Her voice had petered out and still no comment had come. I have to get out of here, she had thought. Tomorrow we'll find another doctor. This woman, well recommended or not, was like a surgeon, an alarmist who gives you only a month to live unless you undergo an immediate operation. It was outrageous.   "What I decided," she had resumed, "what's clear to me now is that I have to refuse any new commissions for a while. Or until Tina is back to normal. Yes, that's what I'll do. Basically, Tina is fine, I'm sure."   Excerpted from The Carousel by Belva Plain All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.